The land which ran west before us was not a pleasant one. Across its horizon hung a pall of factory smoke; and unlovely hamlets, each with its gaunt pit-head gear and stark brick chimney, sprinkled the bare fields between, for hedgerows were scanty and fences of rusty colliery rope replaced them.
We speak of rich seams and poor seams, of fertile and unfertile mines, and we are aware that the costs of raising coal to the surface differ very widely in accordance with these diverse natural conditions. Nor must we confine our attention to the cost price at the pit-head.
So ye mind, Mysie, hoo Tam Graham's lass aye clashed on the rest o' us on the pit-head? She's just like her faither, ay ready to do onything agin the rest, if it would gi'e her a wee bit favor." "Ay, fine I mind o' it, Rob," Mysie replied eagerly. "Do ye mind the day she was goin' to tell aboot you takin' hame the bit auld stick for firewood?
Bullets are pinging through the air, but the guns are once more silent. Possibly they are altering their position. Dotted about upon the flat ground before us lie many kilted figures, strangely still, in uncomfortable attitudes. A mile or so upon our right we can see two towers pit-head towers standing side by side.
Riots broke out, Whatmore pit-head was in flames. This was the pit furthest in the country, near the woods. Soldiers came.
From the generator the electric cables, two in number, are conducted along the roof of the workshops over ordinary telegraph poles to the pit-head at No. 2 shaft, and thence down into the workings.
The boy had no sooner spoken, than with a mad rush Mag darted forward, and opening the gates at the "low scaffold," where no one was near, being situated below the pit-head proper, with a loud scream she hurled herself down the shaft. "God Almichty!" roared the engineman who saw all from the engine house, as he rushed out of the door, calling to the pit-head workers.
Hartley Colliery, about half a mile away, has a sad interest as being the scene of the terrible accident in 1862, when a number of men and boys were imprisoned in the workings owing to the blocking up of the only shaft by a mass of débris, caused by the fall of an iron beam belonging to the pumping engine at the pit-head.
Wi' his twa bits o' laddies workin', an' Mysie in service, an' Mary gaun to the pit-head, it should mak' his burden a wee easier." "I dinna like the idea o' lasses gaun to work on the pithead," he said simply. "I aye mind of the time that Mysie an' me wrocht on it. It's no' a very nice place for lasses or women." "No," his mother said. "I dinna like it either.
Bobby explains to him modestly what he has been trying to do. "Yes, I heard you," says Wagstaffe. "You take a breather, while I carry on for a bit. Squad, stand easy, and tell me what you can see on that target. Lance-Corporal Ness, show me a pit-head." Lance-Corporal Ness steps briskly forward and lays a grubby forefinger on Bobby's "mine." "Private Mucklewame, show me a burn."